We are all busy. But, that doesn’t mean we have a “pass” to make unhealthy food choices! Yes, even I have used it as an excuse before… But, sadly, it’s just not valid. If you are anything like me you don’t have the time/ energy to create an ‘interesting’ healthy lunch every day. If I have leftovers already pre-packaged from the night before- great! If not, forget it – I won’t be chopping a salad before work… But with a little planning you can easily incorporate healthy meals and snacks into your busy lifestyle! Here are a few suggestions…
Dry Foods: (If you don’t buy them pre-packaged you can pack these into serving sizes at the beginning of the week so they are easy to grab & go.) Protein/ Meal Replacement bars or shakes (will keep you full for a while!), whole grain crackers, rice cakes, nuts, dried fruit, instant oatmeal, pudding cups, shell-on sunflower seeds, roasted pumpkin seeds, granola or other low-sugar cereal, trail mix, canned chicken, 100-cal popcorn bags (w/ seasoning!), no-sugar-added applesauce, granola bars, hot chocolate, tea, instant coffee, pre-portioned peanut butter, your favorite candy, cracker or cookie…
Wait, what? Candy? Cookies? Crackers? I know… Cheezits and Oreos are not on the usual ‘healthy eating’ list but notice that I said “favorite” – You’ve got to incorporate some small servings of ‘treat’ foods… Just prioritize them! Don’t have Cheezits AND Ben & Jerry’s on the same day..) You shouldn’t feel like you are being ‘deprived’- that’s not the point. You are on your way to creating a healthier life that you ENJOY – not one that you are suffering through! (Yes, I do put Oreos in my Shakeology!) As you make changes you will find new ‘healthier’ treats that may replace your old vices… But, I, for one, refuse to give up korean pastries altogether. An extra 30 minutes of Turbo Fire? No problem! 🙂
Cold: You can carry these if you have access to a fridge or a well-insulated lunch box. Yogurt, cheeses, sugar-free jello, cottage cheese, deviled/ boiled eggs, hummus, bean salad, sandwich meat.
Frozen: “Steam in bag” mixed veggies (this one happens to be my favorite… it’s filling, tasty and is a great coupon match-up!! (I can usually find them for $0.25/box!), frozen bananas, grapes, frozen “meals” (I’m not a big fan of these… but they are an ok option), Single-serve low-cal ice creams/ desserts
Stay away from: Beef Jerky (too much salt- will cause you to retain water and won’t keep you full anyway..), tuna (other folks don’t tend to enjoy the smell & kinda messy), soup in a can (salt problem again..), Do NOT pack large portions of items that you cannot resist (only pack 2 Dove chocolates! DON’T bring the entire bag of Doritos!)
Pay attention to portion sizes! Mix some of the higher-calorie options (nuts, crackers) with lower-calorie items (sugar snap peas, celery) to get you through the day.
Keep a box of essentials: napkins, plastic utensils, small paper plates, packets of salt, pepper, sweetener, a microwavable mug & bowl in a convenient place (car or desk – maybe both!)
Be Prepared! Plan it out – find the items you enjoy & stock up! 🙂 Make it easy. Meal planning shouldn’t be a challenge. Find a totable mug, water bottle and lunch bag/box you like (no grocery bags allowed!) These will be permanent fixtures in your life that you use every day – ‘invest’ in them (yourself)!
Please share your creative on-the-go meal & snack ideas!